Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reflections and Comments on Our Neighbourhood Meeting

Reflection on Neighbourhood Meeting by members of our group:

1) Dominique Little
The neighbourhood meeting was mainly centred around the youth of extensions six and seven. The Voices of the Youth soundslide sparked a small conversation about how contrary to what people may have said, the problem is not that there are not enough activities.

The problem is that people are not getting involved. There are sports teams, dance groups, drama groups, yet not everybody is willing to participate. This again relays the theme of the soundslide, that it is people’s own choice whether they want to do something or not.

There was not much break between the two soundslides that were viewed, I think that had there been more time, a better discussion could have formed about the other themes present in our soundslide. The rest of the meeting had successful debate about getting involved in cricket as well as on the ‘save our schools’ project.

2) Debbie Liebenberg

Although about 15 people had come to attend our meeting we were dissapointed to see that none of the adults were there despite the fact that we had personally delivered invitations to three headmasters of schools in the area and a police spokesperson.... The young audience seemed to be entertained by the media that was presented despite unforseen technicalities which arose. An important issue that was brought up in the meeting was the discrimination against people based on their dress style rather than the work they do.

This debate arose when a tv documentary was presented about two men (who happened to dress like Rastafarians) who had started projects in these areas to encourage youth development and empowerment. The young audience mentioned that it was difficult taking someone who dressed that way seriously despite all his good efforts.

3) Phakamani Lisa
Overall, the meeting was a success. We expected and had invited more adults but non came to the meeting. We came to realise that the meeting was about the youth so what better audience to have than them.

It was good to see the people who were in the audio slides and videos getting involved in the discussions. There seemed to be no objections to the manner in which they were represented. This is often a problem when it comes to editing footage and sound.

All of the outputs should be given to each school so that they can use them in the future. In that way, we would have done our jobs as journalists to point out certain issues and create a forum for those affected.

There were a few members who felt like they got nothing from the meeting, however, what was discussed in the first half of the meeting is exactly what was discussed in the second half. The audience felt more relaxed and felt they could better articulate themselves in vanacular.

Lets not forget that this production is not for our benefit, its for the community we were working in. From the audiences response, we sparked a lot of debate. The first time we went into the community, I asked a young lady what she thought could be done about the crime levels and she said she didn't know, she hadn't thought about it. I now can compare this to Thursday evening and conclude that we reached our objectives.

5) Andrew Wassung
After the last minute rush of editing a soundslide, it was onto the neighbourhood meeting. We arrived a bit late, but once things got underway if feel the meeting went well in general. This, contrary to many of the other group members feelings, and the fact that the TV ‘doccies’ didn’t play properly. This was a pity because the documentaries certainly sparked quite a lot of interesting debate.

The debate was constructive as part of the problem is that people judge people before they know them, or they judge them according to how they look, even though they may be doing great things. Ace was the main example of this in the documentary screened. It was interesting to engage with the community members about this afterwards for me, because it was hard in the heat of the Xhosa moment to keep up a bit.

The turnout was not huge but youngsters came, and that’s who we were targeting. Also, the cricket guys, who are mostly mid-20’s are definite examples to their youth in this community and a few of them turned up. They made it clear that they are more than willing to have anyone and everyone come and join them at the cricket nets. It was great to see the people who did attend actually taking a deep interest in what we had to show them. I do believe and hope that this project will change something in the community for the positive; even if it was just a reminder to the people that they should have hope.

Reflections on Our Media Outputs

Here we reflect on our media outputs, all are avaliable on request for futher review by yourself if you are interested in our project.

1) Reflection on Voices of the Youth
(Soundslide by Simone Landers and Dominique Little)

When we set out to work on Voices of the youth, our aim was to give insight into ‘afterschool’ activities of the youth in extensions 6 and 7. The point of choosing this angle came about from our 2 focus group meetings, where we learnt that very few of the youth do after school activities, sport etc. The consensus being that as a result of boredom, many of them were going to taverns and/or becoming involved in crime.

When profiling two girls from Benjamin Mahlasela High School, we found an angle to our story which gave much deeper insight into the ways of the youth. The fact that they do not have fields for sport, or many after school activities was not the main concern, the concern lay in the fact that there are only seven pupils in their matric class.

This is not because the school is too expensive as one may think, it is because the youth have chosen not to go to school and would rather bunk (although many of their parents think they are attending classes). The opportunities are there, yet they are not being taken. The question to be asked is what has made these two young girls go to school, when the rest of their peers (brought up in the same living conditions as the girls) have chosen not to. The answer came down to choice. At the end of the day, it is your choice what you want to achieve in your life. Our focus thereby turned into a piece on how although times can be tough, there are opportunities and it is your choice whether you take them.

Our story portrays two girls who have chosen to take them, as they have goals for their life. Although one’s circumstances take huge affect on one’s choices, there comes a time to take responsibility for your actions – especially when you are denying yourself your right to education and a life of quality.

2) Reflection on My articles for the WEPD group
Lisa Brigham

A) Gangster Resistance: This article and the interviews involved really brought light to the fact that we should not, as outsiders, impose stereotypes on the poorer youth of the extension 6 & 7 community.

Talking to the boys was enlightening and informative and my story on their extra curricular activities to stay away from getting involved in crime will be used in the 'inspiration' banner that will be reproduced and put up around schools and hopefully encourage students to stay away from crime. This article synced up with the rest of the group as we provided a platform for the youth to discuss ehat they needed to stay awar from crime and I felt it fitted well into our theme of UPLIFTING YOUTH, UPLIFTING COMMUNITY.

B) Interview with Police Captain: This article was useful because it could be used to promote the work being done by the police in the extensions as well as show the community that the police ARE in fact helping to create a crime-free generation.

This article will be used to aid students in being more aware of the police and join in the campaign that the police are currently launching around crime awareness.

C) Top Tips From a Graduate: Despite this being a very short and systematic article I believe that by quick-fire questioning an ex-graduate from one of the local schools, we can inspire the students to be whatever they want to be and to stay away from the temptations of crime.

3) Reflections on soundslide
Andrew Wassung

Cari and I drove up to our area to visit a guy called Steven, who we were going to do a soundslide on. Having lost his phone number (which we later recovered) we found his house, but also found out that he had already been interviewed in quite some depth. Then we set off on foot and probed the neighbourhood, desperately looking (as journalists do) for something we could do a story on. Having walked a couple of kilometres, and now nearing the car, we came across a young guy called Kanya. He studies at NMMU and grew up with people who now do crime and sit drinking all day. He was more than happy to do a profile and talk about crime in the youth, the same youth that he was and is part of. When we left we saw a bunch of guys with a cricket bag.

Upon asking, we learnt that they play cricket at some nets not far away to keep themselves busy. SO when, on the set meeting day with Kanya, we found that he had gone back to PE, we went in search of our cricketers. This turned out to be the best thing for us as it is something we not only enjoyed being involved in, but something we can, and are, getting involved further in.

Our soundslide proved quite difficult at first because the guys were all practising and were all keen to remain practising – it was hard to get any of them to talk to me as the sound man. Ambience was, however, flowing. Once we had made a few appearances at these ‘Tigers’/ ‘Falcons’ practices, and the guys got to know us, they offered more than enough great sound. Essentially, in our sound slide, but more importantly, in the community, these guys are making a difference. They are playing cricket for 3 or 4 hours every day of the week. Because they love it and it keeps them out of doing other things – like crime. With time pressure on, we put something together and it worked out great.

I was personally very happy with how our soundslide worked out and how we framed some of the problems in the community. The soundslide was a juxtaposition on the concept of crime as it showed a) what a lot of the youth are getting into and why, and b) what they can do to get out of it – through role models who are willing to make a difference. Our relationship with these cricketers has only just begun!

Having lost 2 main leads for our work, I spent most time getting sound with Cari taking photos. Dom and Simone did very well in getting good sound for the groups other soundslide, which was also great in terms of both audio and visual. The sound Dom and I got with Hi-Tec was good but ended up being irrelevant for the way that their soundslide/story ended up unfolding. I acted as a techie here in making minor tweaks to the piece they had already made, and did some final editing with ambience and mixing down. Both sound slides are great and the continuity our group offers is great. A great experience!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Work in Progress

1) Writing up story after interview with boys entitled 'Gangster Resistance'
2) Organising interview with Police official from area on what can be done in the area
3) Making website for our group
4) Editing and re-designing website

1) After the focus groups were held, I have started to work on my soundslide as well as act as a photographer where writers have needed.
2) I went with Lisa to take pictures for her story on gangs and will upload the photographs tommorow
3) I accompanied the tv students on their interview with the Fingo Revolutionary Movement. 4) For my soundslide, I have spoken to people about young offenders and tried to gather some contacts for the story.
5)This evening I will be going to interview Hi-tec.

1) A few of us went up to the extention and got some information about the schools in the area. Some of the schools do have a spring school programme for the students which we thought was a positive for the kids. we mostly just walked around and spoke with the people forming relationships and maybe gaining a bit of trust to show the people tht we are not there just to take from them and then leave with nothing. I have posted a few pictures from the day on to the DFS in my folder under photojourn (simone Landers) if anybody would like to see them.
2) We will be returning to the schools on Monday 5 October to see if we can speak to any of the students and the principles of some of the schools and gain their perspectives.
P.S. the Presidents Awards Club s having a fun run on Wednesday the 7th Oct for those who wanted to cover them.
Andrew & Cari:
1)Cari and i are going well on info for soundslide..just need to put it together.
2) The one guy we definitely have to use in our piece can only meet on monday. he is a student at NMMU who has come back for holiday..he lives right by the tavern in extension 6. So we are only going get soundbites of him on monday. We are having like a 'chill session' with him and his mates in his age group who dont do crime and have found other things to do. also we bumped into some guys who organise a cricket teama and play on weekends..this is hectic as there are 24 youths making 2 teams and they play in the gtown league..i think they even play rhodes. NB: This is hectic though because the weekends are when all the naughty stuff goes down and these okes are playing cricket instead of getting up to mischief.

Nontobeko, Vuyokazi & Zikhona:
As we have discussed, the tv klids willbe doing a profile piece that doccuments a day in a life of a 'troubled teenage' of sorts. S/He or she could be convicted teen, street kid, gang memeber so long as they talk about give us they perspective, and tell their life story of school, home, life in the streets, local gangs, struggles, truimphs and hopes forthe future.

We preferbly dont want to do the whole-happy ending and light at the end of tunnel type of doccie-thats a bit over done-but rather profiling what seems to be a prominent problem within sec. 6 and 7 that will require more than a happy ending but some sort of intervention and understanding of why they do the things they do.

So as a result we will be talking to 'The President's Award' a youth empowerment programme that basically cater for young people between 14-25 by providing them with the neccessary tools required to enable them to be responsible citizens within their respective communities...
1) 11th October: Dominique Little

In the soundslide, only the work around the two featured girls is shown. Besides these interviews with them and the time spent photographing them, I accompanied the tv students when they did their first filming of the ‘Fingo revolutionary movement’ coordinators. I have also made numerous trips into the extensions to take general photographs, as well as taking photographs for the design posters.
Due to the fact that there were three photographers to one radio student, I ended up doing most of the sound for our piece. Andy helped with ambience but Simone and I recorded and edited all of our sound. I was also working on another story that would form the second part of our soundslide (along the same theme of ‘we make our own decisions’) but that unfortunately fell through despite the time I spent with my subject, photographing him and talking to him. Being extremely busy, Andy had hardly any time to help us with our sound and as a result we did most of it all ourselves, focusing on trying to edit sound where we maybe should have focused more on taking photographs. However, trying to get a finished product before our neighbourhood meeting meant that we could not do so.
2) 11th October: Simone Landers
Going in to the extension tomo for a photoshoot/fieldwork.
Friday went very well up at the school. Meggan and I put together a focus group with some of the students and it was really helpful got some great information. Tomorrow I'm going to follow three of the girls around after school and really get in to what these guys get up to wen school is out, thought we could get some really interesting material.
3)11th October: Debbie Liebenberg
The design team (Phakamani and myself) decided to create one banner and two A3 posters. Since I designed the banner and Phakamani the two posters I shall only reflect on the banner here. The target audience for the banner would be the youth. The po...sters were to be put in three schools in the area.
I decided to make the theme of the banner reflect a school/learning atmostphere and for this reason the design was as follows: The banner looked like a birds eye view of a school desk. The desk had many school like decorations upon it (such as stationary, books and paper) which were used to present the stories and photographs produced by other members in the group. So from a distance this colourful poster may appear to be merely a cluttered desk but upon closer inspection the viewer will find different stories and photos relevant to the lifestyles of the youth in the area.
In terms of the content that was chosen: The banner was not only made to be a source of hope for the youth but also a means for them to voice their concerns about their community. In so doing the target audience may feel a common connection or be inspired to be like the young role models presented on the poster
4) 12th October: VK

TV update: we are doing two documetaries, one is going to be profiling an individual- someone who has resorted to crime because the education system in township high schools has let them down and how they have been helped by NGO's in GHT to turn... their life around the documentary presents " The Problem" and the second documentary is profiling an organisation Save our Schools - aim is to encourage youth to go back to school.
We are almost done with filming one documentary and I would like to film the second bit today - afternoon. There was an idea about writers collaborating with highschool learners to write articles about crime / youth stories in their area.. is that idea still vaible?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Meeting Minutes

Wednesday 16th September 2009
Meeting 1 Minutes
1) Decide on division of mini teams for civic mapping exercise 1
2) Decide on exercise & one approach
3) Decide on location
4) Organise equipment
5) Closing of meeting


Friday 18th September 2009

Meeting 2 Minutes

1. Discussion of previous field work findings:
a. Simone/Andy: -Found people wouldn’t speak openly; made future contacts and did general interviewing
b. Debbie:- suggestion about posters and business cards; interview with Bangladesh shop owners (xenophobia?); interview with a school girl who gave information on problems with crime and violence in school; comment on protests and made revelations on times of the day when crimes happen in the area
c. Meggan:-mobile police station? Why isn’t it there?
d. Dominique:-angle of person committing crimes (why?) and questions about police
· We should look at negatives AND positives
· Decided on theme : YOUTH, CRIME AND VIOLENCE
· Decided on final participants & contact
· Decide on final staff teams
· Organised venues
· Organised equipment
· Organised budget/refreshments
· Layout structure of focus group
· Other/issues:
· Language barrier
· Assignment clarification
f. Closing of meeting

Meeting 3 Minutes
1. Ran through list of requirements/objectives with lecturer
2. Brainstormed a few angles
3. Brought up questions on direction of project and course requirements
4. Closing of meeting



Tuesday 22nd September 2009

Meeting 4 Minutes
Discussion on focus groups
1. Double check on members of team conducting focus groups
2. Get refreshments from Debbie (treasurer)
3. Re-cap on equipment
4. Closing of meeting


Wednesday 23rd September 2009

-Quick meeting with group before splitting up for focu groups-


Friday 25th September 2009
Meeting 5 Minutes
1. Report back on focus groups
a. Lisa/VK/Dominique and Nontobeko:- Found that the main problem was flaws in the justice and policing system and that the youth were the main perpetrators of crime in the area, specifically gangs and youth under the influence of alcohol or drugs
b. Carileigh et al:-
2. Report back on visit to Grocott’s Mail:- didn’t go
3. Planning of oral proposal/presentation:- Meggan, Debbie and Simone will work on it, asked for story ideas from each student (NB: see today’s blog for story ideas)
4. Closing of meeting

Meeting 6 Minutes
1. Recap on focus groups
2. Bring up issues
3. Discuss other aspects of projects
4. Closing of meeting



28th September 2009


· Introduction

· Sub-theme that will frame the group's project

· A brief discussion of the group's strategy

· And a list of the group's story ideas.


30st September 2009

Meeting 7 Minutes
1. Explanation, note on source interviews and methods to be used in media outputs:
a. Writers:-
b. Designers:-
c. Photographers:-
d. Radio:-
e. Television:-
2. Mini-group meetings between WEPD group, Photojournalism and Radio group and Television group
3. Plan and write up ‘work in progress’ presentation
4. Final comments
5. Conclusion

Meeting 8 minutes
Individual meetings with lecturers

-No minutes-
5th to 9th October 2009
This week we worked on our drafts of media outputs and presented on our ‘work in progress’. After our presentation we used the rest of the group to complete our production tasks

6th October 2009
‘Work in Progress’ presentation:

· Introduction
· Briefs by:
o WEPD group
o Photojournalism and Radio group
o Television group
· Conclusion
Friday 9th October 2009

Meeting 9 minutes
Group Discussion
1. Plan meeting
2. Other comments
3. Closing of meeting



12th to 16th October 2009

This week, addED the final touches to our productions and prepare and host their neighbourhood meetings, to which they will invite guests ranging from residents, NGO workers, police and other civic organisations.
We also held our neighbourhood meeting which we have reflected on in another post


19th to 23rd October 2009
working on outputs/no official meetings

Week 7
26th to 30th October 2009

Reviewing the Focus Goup Exercise 2

Focus Group 2: 18:00
· FOCUS GROUP 2/ Residents Making a Difference

Our focus group was held in a small house in King’s Flats in the evening at a time when everybody was free. It was filmed, recorded and photographs and notes were taken.

The focus group discussion was held in both English and isiXhosa, with the Xhosa members of our group interpreting.

Our focus group consisted mainly of older people from about 30 up to 80 years old. There were no children or youths present. Several members of a community policing forum were present.

The majority of the participants agreed that the main perpetrators of crime were the youth, and even children. Much of this crime was carried out by gangs. Some of the crimes the focus group said were most common were robbery, theft and mugging – sometimes people were stripped naked and their clothes stolen.

The shebeens were identified as a major source of crime, especially since they are open the whole night. Many young people and even children as young as 12 would apparently drink at the taverns. There were many reports of fights and many people were apparently robbed, sexually assaulted and even murdered around the shebeens. A lot of this crime was committed by youth gangs, who relied on strength in numbers. The police were apparently ineffective at stopping such crimes – one policemen was even a shebeen owner.

Almost the whole focus group believed that the cause for much of the crime and violence perpetrated by young people in Extensions 6 and 7 was a lack of discipline. They believed that if they could discipline their children properly, they would behave and almost all of them were in favour of brining back corporal punishment. They insisted that children have too many rights and are cheeky to their parents because they know that the law will protect them and they can always call child services or the police if their parents beat them. Although the focus group was critical of the laws that protect children and wanted them to fall away, they refused to comment on reintroducing the death penalty.

A lot of the crime problems among the youth were blamed on the use of drugs. The focus group participants said that about 15 years ago, around the end of apartheid, the most that youngsters would do was smoke marijuana, which made them sleepy and relaxed. But from 1994 onwards, harder drugs began to arrive in the township and that is when the youths became more violent. They started smoking Mandrax, taking ecstasy, methamphetamines and other hard drugs and this caused them to become violent and commit crimes to support their drug habits. Some of the parents present approved of their children smoking dagga as long as they did not do harder drugs because marijuana stopped them from becoming violent.

The drugs problem was blamed on foreigners who flocked to Grahamstown once apartheid ended in 1994. Many of the focus group participants exhibited mild xenophobia against foreigners.

Most of the residents said they knew exactly who the criminals were but could not act out of fear of retaliation.

Apart from crime and violence, the other key issue identified by the focus group was a lack of service delivery. They pointed out the lack of proper housing, the open sewers, rubbish lying around and other service delivery problems were second only to the threat of crime and violence.

The most common types of crime in Kings Flats were robbery, theft, drug abuse and dealing and assault. Other serious crimes were murder and rape. All the participants we spoke to were in fear of crime and were reluctant to go out by themselves at night. They were also paranoid of other people stealing things from them and would watch visitors to their houses very carefully.

The focus group participants believed the best way to improve their neighbourhood was to have more police who did not just ride up and down wasting petrol, and to be able to beat their children. They were very passionate about the youth being undisciplined and not showing enough respect to their elders and thought that this was the leading cause of crime amongst the youth, together with drug abuse.

Vick stofile - 0730612776
Esther dwane N/A
Steven matsvimbo - 0781661714
Moses diniso - 0838283340

Reviewing the Focus Goup Exercise 2

Focus Group 2: 18:00

Monday, September 28, 2009

Story Ideas

Friday 23rd September 2009

Today in our meeting we verbalised our project theme and aims for the oral presentation and what stories we would further persue in our groups. Some of the ideas were:

1) WEPD Group:
a) Lisa:- interview and perhaps do a feature on resistance of gang violence with students found during the civic mapping and focus group excercise
b) Guy:-
c) Meggan:-
come up with a new and funky poster board type of design to exhibit photo stories and information about crime in the area to maybe go up in schools and bus stops
Nontobeko, Voyokazi and ZW Tshona to persue prisons and rehabilitations of criminals in the youth sector and maybe even trail hi-tech and how they handle youth criminals and ask those caught why they do it etc
a) Dominique:- Keeping in tune with our group’s theme of ‘youth’, Andy (radio) and I (photo) are doing a story that examines the positive and negatives of the process that young offenders go through when they commit a crime.
We have conducted research not only through our focus group interviews, but through talking to security companies and members of the community alike. Research shows that young offenders are either arrested or simply dropped back off at home (as juvenile prison is too dangerous).
Those arrested are sometimes charged and even when sentenced are released shortly thereafter. Prison means three free meals as well as a new identity, a place where they belong. When released, they bring with them the new identity that they formed behind bars, back into their community.
Either which way, the necessary reform process is ignored and the problem of young offenders continues to grow. It is for this reason that we are producing our soundslide, as a plea to both community and authority to re-think the way in which young offenders are handled, as well as to question why a better reform method has not been put in place.
b) Cari:-
c) Andrew:- Possibly work with Lisa on gangster idea as well as with photographers and work with Dominique and Cari on another possible sound slide involving rehabilitation

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reviewing the Focus Group Excercise 2

Wednesday 23rd September 2009

We split into two main groups to conduct two separate focus groups with Extension 6 residents as we felt it would be useful for our project to conduct them separately. Here we blog about the results and other notes we made during the focus group and what we have discovered in reflection.

1) Focus Group 1 - 14:30

Even though the focus group was conducted in Xhosa it was very well translated by VK and with extra input from Non2.

Dominique and I (Lisa) helped mediate the group by asking questions in English and having the TV girls translate them.

It seemed to be a slight challenge for the TV and Photojourn students to manouver around the venue as well as getting the children to talk as they were a bit shy. I decided to re-interview the children separately as they seemed to know a lot about gang culture.

It was very sad to hear about the focus group participant's individual crime trauma's and I think that we as the people mediating the group all felt very connected to the participants by the time


Ntombomzi/Mary Waters School:15 years old #0783556430; Sinazu/Nombulelo School:17 years old #0765518206; Siphamandla/D.D.Siwisa School:13 years old # 0783769393; Sinethemba/Ntsika School:15 years old (no number); Mongameli/D.D.Siwisa School:13 years old #0735005789; Edith Joseph/G.A. Fort England: 57 years old (Fort England); Maybel Notyath/Stay at home Granny: 67 years old (no number); Phumeza Jelu/Stay at home: 23 years old #0799681887; Zola Tsihi /undefined: 32 years old (no number); Yandiswa Antomi/undefinded: 32 years old (no number); Lenande Jelu/Ntsika School: 15 years old #0781661850 and Sayama Ndimphiwe/undefined: 23 years old #0730453954

Proposal: meet at the pink house (owner has given permission) by MTN shop and near the bus stop on the corner as it is close to all of the participant’s houses

Equipment and staff: we will need a TV student and their camera to record the interview as well as a Radio student and their recording equipment and a Photojournalism student to take VOX pop style photographs at the beginning of the meeting and a Writing student to mediate the meeting. We have also decided to conduct the focus groups meetings in Xhosa so we will also need a translator. We will also need a design student to secure venue and snacks/drinks (we propose getting buying drinks and snacks together with other focus group team)

1. When we spoke to our focus group, the participants of which consisted of a varied demographic, they all came to the same conclusion: that the main problem with crime is poor service and reaction time by the police.

They said that many times they have attempted to complain to the police or their street committee but nothing has come about or been a permanent solution.
They said that for the most part that the youth are the perpetrators of crime in the area and that this is not only because of a lack on employment in Grahamstown but because of flaws in the education system and by the lack of interest by community leaders. They said that teachers don’t care what students do when they aren’t at school and there is a need for more extra-curricular activities to keep the youth occupied as well as more education in schools on crime.

2. Crime is affecting people in that some are thinking of re-locating elsewhere and the students in the focus group said that they want to leave the town itself as soon as they graduate from school as they don’t see themselves finding jobs or being happy in Grahamstown let alone Extension 6.
The crime has frightened people but so has the lack of police intervention and many do not feel safe in their homes.

Elvis Jalo, one of the focus group participants and the man that let us use his house as a venue, admits that he had the wall around his property knocked down and replaced it with a fence so that he can see thieves of gangs if they are loitering around his property.

Many of the focus group’s participants were related to or know of someone who has been severely affected, wounded or even died in event of violent crime. However they are highly critical not only of the police but of the justice system which often lets suspects, who were blatantly guilty or placed at the scene of the crime by eye witnesses, go out on bail or even let off without trial or proper holding sentence time.

Most of the participants say they would never tell the authorities who criminals are in the area, even though they know most of them by face and name, as they are scared that they will be victimised or threatened.
This fear is common in South Africa and prevalent in America. But fear of being victimised may not be the only reason for not “snitching”. In America ‘snitching’ is preventing the police and justice systems from working:
“[The] communities equate "snitching" with the concept of lesser criminals providing evidence on others' crimes to get their original crimes (and the punishment) reduced. It is that abuse of the "criminals' code" that is considered the deathly evil by other criminals. A 1995 National Institute of Justice Research in Action newsletter stated that prosecutors suspected that witness intimidation was in play in 75 percent or more of the violent crimes in gang-dominated neighbourhoods” (Omerta in the hood: 2008[1]).

This seems to be evident in Extension 6 and is a good explanation of what the focus group discussed the justice system and how it is constantly abused and if a criminal is put on trial or arrested then their friends and family will pull strings to get them out for various reasons.

3. Although the group has lost faith in the justice system they have solutions to their crime issues in the area. They are:
a. Make police presence more evident in the area by building permanent mobile police points in the area
b. Hold the police accountable for slow reaction time so that they react faster to break ins and acts of criminal violence
c. Hold the justice system accountable to prevent corruption and ensure fair trials
d. Get organisations and sponsors to organise extra-curricular activities for students and have youth systems with games rooms and monitors put in the extension to keep the youth away from gang culture


Continued work in King's Flats

Friday 18th September 2009

Mini-group 1
Lisa Brigham and Dominique Little


Today Dom and I went back into Extension 6 to find a venue for our coming focus group and to confirm participants.

Elvis, one of the participants allowed us to use his property to hold the focus group on and we met his wife to get formal permission.

We then phoned through our list of participants to find we came up short as some werent answering and some gave us their wrong numbers. We hope to find 'make up' participants before the focus group next week.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Reviewing the Civic Mapping Excercise 1

Wednesday 16th September 2009
Mini-group 1
Lisa Brigham and Dominique Little

Today we went into Kings Flats, known to the residents as extension 6, to start our civic mapping. We previously held a group meeting to delegate team roles and discuss how to approach the residents.

After splitting into mini-teams Dom and myself interviewed several residents who were willing to talk to us. Many of them were concerned with crime and were afraid to let their children play outside and alone.

Dom got some initial photographs of the area to aid us in getting a description of extension 6 and I felt that we got better at interviewing the residents as we moved on.It should be interesting to see what the rest of the team got in terms of interviews and information in our next meeting on Friday before our tutorial.

Mini-Group 2
Andrew Wassung and Simone Landers

Simone and I walked around, speaking to locals about issues they are confronting, most importantly of which is crime.

Everyone we talked to expressed grave concerns about the amount of crime going on most nights after dark, but especially on weekends.

We were told that the police, although situated right down the road, hardly ever make an appearance when called and only sometimes patrol the area. Two or three people caught our interest specifically and some did not want to be named having spoken about criminals, gangs and crime in general.

The area all around the local shebeen, which seems to be the cause of most of the violence, is full of glass bottles that provide stabbing tools for those doing crime. Some residents reported fears of letting their children even walk around, especially in the evenings. Women living at home alone or in a women-only household, expressed lots of fear and reports of drunk men breaking in and raping women seemed much to common.

Mini-Group 3
Zikhona Tshona and Carileigh Hansen

Cari and I walked around the area where the tavern is, interviewing people about crime in the area.

All of the people that we spoke to did say that they do not feel safe walking around the streets, stating that crime is in fact high in this area. As with the group above, people also mentioned that police service is completely unsatisfactory in the area. People said that the police would either not respond at all or take to long to do so, one woman also said that police would not come because of a shortage in vehicles to respond to crimes. A young girl whom we spoke to also said that in some cases, the community would take the issue of dealing with perpetrators of crime in their own hands, by beating them up.

A young man that we spoke to told us that a lot of crime in this area takes place in front of the tavern especially over weekends. He said that crime in this area is often done by young people known by the community. In most cases it’s basically an issue of “if the criminals know you, you are safe; if they don’t, you’re not”.

We also spoke to a shop owner, who said that in his business, crime is usually high around pension days, where long queues make the area an easy target for robbery. He also said that it is often very difficult for people to report crimes, because they may feel insecure about doing so or often people in the community might say that people allow criminal activities to happen to them. We also found out that there is a street forum in the community which deals with the issue of crime. This forum is headed by a woman, whom we managed to speak to; she has also agreed to organise a focus group meeting for us on Wednesday at 18:00.

Mini-Group 4
Guy Martin et al

Most people that we spoke to are concerned about crime. The Bangladeshi shop owners, for instance, have been robbed many times and were very heated when discussing how much of their property had been damaged due to theft.

The schoolchildren we spoke to were also concerned about crime and the fact that the do not feel safe when they are alone - one girl even told how she was being stalked by an older man.Another important issue is a lack of facilities in the area, such as sports fields. There is little to do, especially for the youth and as a result many turn to crime.

Mini-Group 5
Debra Liebenberg et al

Although Kings Flats is just a few kilometers away from Grahamstown, the differences between these two area's were noticeable straight away. In Grahamstown people use threatening "hi-tech security" signs and barbed wire to keep any possible attackers or thieves away. Most people in this area seem to be adamant about securing their homes and possessions which is why doors are closed, gates are locked and curtains are drawn.

When you walk down the street people cling onto their bags and try desperately not to make eye-contact. It seems that Grahamstonians are essentially isolating themselves from their community due to their own fears of crime. Although Kings Flats (in comparison to Grahamstown) has many more instances of crime the vibe in this area is alot more welcoming.While residents in this area seem to be aware of taking safety measures to secure their belongings they are not nearly as anal about it as Grahamstonians.

Instead of barbed wire and "hi-tech" signs, they have fences intertwined with thorn tree branches and stray dogs. I was amazed at how many people left their homes wide open to anyone who wished to enter. When my group and I first explored this area we were never stopped or questioned when we entered private residential homes. Instead we were welcomed and invited to sit down and talk. While walking along the streets most people made the effort to greet us with a smile and when we were lost people were happy to give directions.

One woman that we spoke to went so far as to warn us that we should not leave the car alone that we had travelled in. There is definately a stronger sense of community within Kings flats which is probably largely owed to the fact that the police designated to control this area allegedly dont do their jobs. Some shop owners told us of how their shop had been robbed three times and even though they were able to identify the victims the police made no effort to bring any justice. Other home owners told us that they had to wait three hours after calling the police for them to arrive and subsequently do nothing.

If the police are not willing to help these people who will be? It is therefore no suprise that there seems to be a strong sense of community as if the police wont protect these people they have only but eachother to turn to.